Chen exits with oblique strain

Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen exited Sunday’s series finale against the Twins with a right oblique strain after tossing five scoreless innings.

Chen– who never had a clean inning– needed just 73 pitches and looked poised to go the distance for Baltimore, but television cameras showed him grabbing his right side as he walked off the mound following Eduardo Escobar’s groundout.

Oblique strains typically mean a trip to the disabled list and losing Chen for any length of time would be a major blow to an already inconsistent Orioles rotation. Chen, who entered the game 2-3 with a 3.40 ERA was the team’s most reliable starter last year –the only pitcher to start at least 20 games– and had turned in five quality starts in his first seven games in 2013.

The 27-year-old Chen held Minnesota to five hits and struck out three before he was replaced by right-hander Tommy Hunter. The injury-shortened outing gave the Orioles –who added reliever Mike Belfiore before the game to help the bullpen– their third consecutive start of fewer than six innings.

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